January 2016: It was Jessica’s second baby and we both felt like birth pros. When we arrived at the birth center, Jessica was well into active labor so we felt like a couple ballers. Perfect timing. Then, as the midwife felt around she said, “Uh, your baby is breech. We’re legally not allowed to birth her here. You have to transfer to the hospital.” Whaaaaaat?
Got back into the car. Checked in at the neighboring hospital. Got an ultrasound. Breech baby.
It happened so fast. Our perfect little birth plan was gone in a flash. Thankfully, Jessica and I had rehearsed these types of surprises many times and made up our minds that nothing, not even an unplanned cesarean would steal our joy. I’m glad we did that, because honestly that set the stage for something unexpected:
The c-section was JUST AS special and memorable as both vaginal births! Now, cesareans are major abdominal surgeries so there were definitely highs and lows, but I wanted to share some things that stood out to me from the whole experience:
🐇 It goes pretty fast. It felt like 10 minutes or so until our baby was born and it took about half an hour to stitch Jessica. We both got to love on our sweet newborn and I did some skin-to-skin.
😱 The O.R. was NOT scary. There was a fun and celebratory atmosphere. I got some great footage of the whole scene that our clients get to see during our birth class (along with other amazing birth footage!).
😕 Recovery was rough. Jessica gets sick from pain meds and ibuprofen was not helping! It was very painful for Jessica for many days. I remember vividly watching her move slowly around the house and she leaned on my support even more than our first birth. Breastfeeding was hard, too. Why do I tell you this? You guessed it: support is CRITICAL! Be ready for anything, birth partners!!
✔️ I hope this story helps first timers lose some of the stigma against c-sections. It’s one of the biggest reasons we became birth educators. We have a passion for preparing couples to have a positive, joyful birth NO MATTER WHAT.
If you’re a first timer, what questions do you have about cesareans? If you’ve had one before, what tips would you give?
Story by: @balanced.birth.couple